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Collection of classic hip-hop memorabilia to be auctioned at Sotheby’s

Featuring Grand Master Flash, LL Cool J, Afrika Islam, Kool Herc, Keith Haring and more 

Collection of classic hip-hop memorabilia to be auctioned at Sotheby’s

An array of classic hip-hop memorabilia is being auctioned at Sotheby's New York this week. 

Items range from vinyl to studio kit, flyers to sneakers, hand-written documents, posters and jewellery. Figures such as Wu-Tang Clan, NWA, Eminem, Mos Def, Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five, LL Cool J, DJ Kool Herc and Coke La Rock, Cold Crush Brothers, Sugar Hill Records and Keith Haring all appear, as do venues such as The T-Connection, Disco Fever and Audubon Ballroom

Among the high profile listings is a gold, ruby and diamond crown ring designed and worn Tupac Shakur, which could bring in up to $300,000. Meanwhile, original Mo Wax artwork created for James Lavelle could fetch $25,000, a little less than Nike's special edition 'D.U.N.K.L.E. Pro SBs, developed with the DJ and producer, and label, in mind. 

An original, sealed copy of  'Beat Bop' is also included, and is widely considered a "holy grail" collector's item. Recorded in 1983, it was planned as a rap battle between avant-garde MC Ramellzee and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but the latter stepped aside to focus on cover artwork leaving K-Rob to step in on the mic. A starting price is set at $7,000, but a final sale is expected to come in closer to $15,000. 

Other lots include Phase II's 1982 single 'The Roxy', and the original soundtrack and cassette artbook to accompany landmark graffiti movie 'Wild Style'. Meanwhile, Afrika Islam is represented by various pieces of equipment, including the SP-1200 used to record Ice-T's 'Rhyme Pays' lyrics, two Technics SL1200 turntables and a Vestax PMC 20SL mixer. More than 100 12"s from the legendary selector's crate are also on offer, and could reach up to $8,000. 

Curated and organised in collaboration with Monica Lynch, Tommy Boy Records' president from 1981 to 1998, the collection mark hip hop's 50th anniversary and can be found here.

Bidding closes on Tuesday 25th July. In 2020, Sotheby's famously auctioned the iconic plastic crown worn by The Notorious B.I.G. for £600,000. According to reports at the time, the item originally sold for $6 when the legendary rapper, who died in 1997, first bought it.